Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Days of Awe

WE are currently right in the middle of the Days of Awe, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  A period of reflection, consideration. Between the beginning of the year, and the day of atonement.

Traditionally it's when everyone apologizes to those they have hurt, considers the year behind them, and what they need to do in the year ahead.

This year I am in awe:

In awe of the state of my parents home, of going through closest and dressers and private places.

In awe of my older daughter, who daily reminds me of the blessings and terribles of a two-year old.

In awe of my younger daughter, a new growing, ever changing miracle of life- a bright spot in an otherwise unhappy time.

In awe of the pain I feel, each time I think to myself that I should talk to my mom.

In awe of the fact that its been a month since she left this world, and that I don't feel like I've made any changes, or that anything has gotten better.

This time of year is always intense. If you really take Jewish thought to heart and try to apologize to everyone you need to- if you really try, then you'll be overwhelmed by your deeds and misdeeds.  Most American Jews don't take this time, but I try to.  This year, I just can't.  I can't see beyond the whole that we've seemingly fallen into.

I spent part of yesterday taking things from my house I never really thought I would- things like my drawings from when I was a child.  Notes to my mom, and the handprint I made when I was in preschool. Those things that are yours and your parents all at the same time.

May your days of awe be inspiring.  May your days of awe bring about a clarity and a focus to your life as you move towards Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

L'Shana Tova

It only seems fitting to wish everyone a L'Shana Tovah.  Because that's what you do on erev Rosh Hashana.  But to be honest, I'm not really feeling it.

I never realized how much I relied on my mom.  That I called her so often.  That she was my sounding board for anything and everything.  That she was my best friend.  It didn't really matter what it was, she was there for me.

I remember having serious doubts about being pregnant with Madelyn.  Yes, we had planned it, but when it finally happened I was terrified.  She was there for me.

My pregnancy with Susanna was really tough, and I remember needing her comfort, the sound of her voice, her words of wisdom and guidance.

I remember her taking me to soccer, to SAT prep classes.  I remember her shopping for my wedding dress with me- the first dress I think we ever shopped for together.

I wake up in the middle of the night, missing her.  My daughter tells me she loves her mommy, and I try really hard to not to burst out into tears.  Last night she was going crazy at bed time, just jumping around like a crazy one.  And all I could think was that my Mom doesn't get to see this.  That she won't help teach Susanna to jump- that she won't give Susie a babydoll, or help buy Madelyn's wedding dress.

I realize that everyone dies, but I just didn't think it would happen this way.

My cousin Doug also lost his wife this past week.  It's not been a good month for my family.  It's heartbreaking- I can't imagine losing my mom when I was that young- as young as his daughter is.  Lucy was an amazing woman- she lit up a room, and was great at cooking.  She visited us every two years, my mom always arranging a family meal, and a family get together.  This is our first holiday without her, and I can't even convince the family to get together.  We won't be all sides together tonight.

It seems that every day I cry.  I try hard not to - I realize that crying does very little, but it's so overwhelming.  I'm lost in my own house, in my own mind.  Missing what I can't have back.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trying to get to normal...

So this week we made some Challah, just like I said I would with the Challah Challenge.  It was nice to do something regular- something with a definitive result.


This was the recipe I used this week, again, something I had in the house.  This book was a gift from my sister a few years back.  I love how versatile it is, and how it has crafts and things for the kiddos.  It's a great book to have around, although if I'm honest, this Challah isn't my winner.

Jewish Holiday Treats
'Round-and-round challah'

2 pks yeast
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups warm milk
1 Tb salt
5 large eggs beaten
1/2 cup oil
7 cups flour
1 egg, for egg wash

Dissolve yeast in warm milk with 1 tbl sugar.  Stir in remaining sugar, salt, eggs, and oil.  Stirl in flour 1 cup at a time until smooth, not sticky.  Turn out and knead.  Put in oil coated bowl to rise until double (30-60 minutes)

Turn out and divide in half.  Roll out three ropes, and braid.  Cover with towel and let rise 30 minutes (this recipe is for Rosh Hashana, so it goes into instructions on making it round, so I'm skipping that part).

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

When I made our Challah this week, I had a few helpers.  EG and her friend came by the house.  The girls loved to dump in the flour- I used a half cup measuring cup so it would last even longer.  Then stirring was a big exciting event too!

I hope that EG has these memories.  My mom never did much baking, while she had a definite knack for cooking.  Cooking with my mom was one of my greatest memories.  She would always make sure we knew her techniques, and when I was home in high school alone when my sister went to college it was lots of fun in the kitchen, since I could always make whatever I wanted to.

I remember once she had someone over the house when I got home from school.  I went straight to the kitchen and checked on the onions she had on the stove.  She told me later that the friend she was with was so impressed that I would just jump in like that, and how wonderful it was that we were competent in the kitchen.

I can definitely say we are.  My sister even tackled Thanksgiving for the first time a few years ago, and I can't wait to go up north for her repeat performance!

It's interesting how difficult it's been.  Some days are just 'fine' and others are really terrible.  But no matter what the day, Challah always helps....

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Struggling, trying, moving...

I never intended for this blog to be a spot for me to just spout at random about things- it's always had a sort of rambling purpose- and yes, while it's about me, it's about having kids and raising them as a jewish family here in LA.

But then something like this happens.  I'd like to think that the people who read my blog care about me and my family enough to want to know when things like this happen in our lives.  I've shared my birth stories, my kids lives, and everything else to share with you as my readers.

So, if you're not that into it, and you're waiting for me to share about Rosh Hashana, I'm sure I'll get there.

But right now, I just can't even seem to get past the front door.  things are totally overwhelming, and I can't believe how unbelieveably sad I am.  The support from family and friends has been great- some of the notes are  moving and wonderful.  But each morning I wake up wishing that I could go back in time.  I think of my last conversations with my mom and I regret things.  I wish that I was a better daughter, and I wish that I could be a better mom right now.

It's hard to move forward.  To keep going on what needs to be done.

To figure out how to engage in a world that is so vastly different, yet dramatically the same, than it was a week ago.

Hopefully this week I'll be able to give some insights into sitting Shiva, jewish funerals, and talking about death with your children.  You may not want to read it, but at least it might give someone else some guidance someday.

I promise to work on those other posts- Rosh Hashana, Pretend City, and what Ocho is like as an almost 2month old....

Monday, September 1, 2014

I'm Sorry

I should have a lot of great posts.  One about the Natural History Museum, Pretend City, and camping with a one month old.

I don't have any of that.  I have a mom who died on Friday night.  And right now that's all I can say about it.  Because I can't even begin to understand what happened.  That she's not here any more.  That I spoke with her at 11am on Friday and that by the same time on Saturday she was

We were out in Limekiln, enjoying the whales and the dolphins and seals.  It took them over half the day to get in touch, no cell reception up there.

So here we are, all gathered together.  Waiting. 

The funeral will likely be on Thursday, tentatively scheduled for 2pm. 

We're sitting Shiva at my Dad's house on Thursday and Saturday.  We'll be at Temple Shir HaMaLot on Friday night for Shabbat.

I just want this horrible nightmare to end.  I just want to wake up.  I want to throw dishes and jump out of the world.  Be anyplace where this isn't happening.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Conversations with EG

In the past few days I've had quite a few conversations with EG that have caught me totally off guard.

Into the Book:
We were sitting in the bathroom, EG on the potty me reading stories.  You know, as you do when potty training, and suddenly EG says "I go in there."  In where honey?  "I go in there.  I want to go in there."  Oh, in the story.  Honey, we can't go inside of a picture in a book.  We can go there in our imagination, we can pretend to be the bears in the story.  We can dress up like the bears and act out the scene.  "No, I go in there.  Daddy can fix it."  Daddy can fix what?  "Daddy will fix it."

She's so convinced that she can affect the items inside of a book- she also tried to knock over a stack of blocks in a picture book.  She hits the book, and I'm not exactly sure what to say to convince her that she can't affect the picture.

Feed my Baby:
Somehow, in all the conversations I thought I would have with EG, the fact that she would want to take off her shirt and feed Ocho never really seemed to factor in.  I contemplated that she would want to drink breast milk herself.  I thought that she would be angry about the time that Ocho gets with Mommy.  I thought that she would want to taste Mommy's milk too.  But never did I think that she would want to take off her shirt and feed either Ocho or her dollies.  Since she brought it up, I gather that it's actually really common.

I told her that she could feed her baby dollies, or her teddy bear.  Luckily she dropped it fairly fast.  She has done very well with understanding and remembering that she shouldn't touch the babies head when she's eating, only her feet.

Yeah Mommy Yeah:
We're working on EG being Potty trained.  I like to say we are doing it diligently, but the reality is with a new little one, it's to hard to try to get her to the potty and breastfeed.  However, we definitely encourage it, spend lots of time reading books on the potty (see above) and celebrating successes.

This leads me to the conversation: EG "You go on the potty mommy" Yes, EG I did go pee-pee on the potty this morning. "Yeah Mommy" clap clap clap "Yeah Mommy- you a big girl- you such a big girl."  Good to know my achievements are being recognized!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pier Concerts

Have you been to one of the concerts on the Pier of Redondo?  What a fun family adventure.  Though they go a bit too late into the evening for our crowd to enjoy the whole event, the 6pm start time means you can grab or bring dinner for 5:30 and enjoy through the sunset. 

That's just what we did a few nights ago:

They have the band set-up on the largest part of the pier, away from all the shops and restaurants, just a nice wide open space.  They create a really nice dance floor area around the stage, so everyone can get up and boogie....

There was a nice crowd on the night we went.  The music is definitely kiddo friendly (no cursing, etc.) and enjoyable.  Lots of little ones doing the boogie.

EG and I hit the dance floor, really running and jumping around.  She was trying to play with the three other little girls you see on the right, but they were too wild for her.

We ate somewhere else, but these people had a great set-up. Nice lawn chairs, and a great little 'table in a bag' that they had gotten.  They showed us how to do it up nice.

We stayed until the sun went down, which was a treat for all of us, since we're usually at home for bath time before 7pm.  It did get a little chilly, but overall it was a wonderful little evening out, something I would definitely recommend.

They have the concerts going on through the end of August, just a few more weeks.  They had them in July too, but we were busy doing something else...

Have you been to one of the concerts on the pier?  What about Manhattan Beaches' concerts?  We've seen lots of people going to them, walking over to Polliwog, but never made it out ourselves...
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